Forest Gardening Day I: Arriving in Dartington

I took the train to Totnes this morning. A quick walk around the town to pick up some supplies. My mum considers Totnes a bit of a “hippie town” and although I don’t like such sweeping judgements, I know what she means. I like it though. It’s full of independent shops that appear to be thriving. I bought some soup and bread from the Riverford shop for my dinner. As well as a camping stove and gas (I seem to have lost my last set). I noticed a lot of King Charles Spaniels on my walk. Is this a Totness thing? The dog about town. A much more cheerful presence than the Staffies we have everywhere in London.

Dartington was further than I thought by foot but I arrived to the church hall on time. Martin Crawford, the man himself, our guru for the weekend, was greeting people as they arrived. There’s about 23 people on the Forest Gardening Course. After introductions, we took a tour of Martin Crawford’s two acre site, just a few minutes from the church hall.

I’d really been looking forward to this moment. There are few fully established forest gardens in the UK, making this a rare treat. Late spring is a good time to visit a forest garden as you can better observe the layers, while getting a flavour of the plants and their leaves. I don’t think I saw any grass as we walked along paths. It was beautiful, in sight as well as scent.

Martin Crawford at the entrance to his forest garden in Dartington



After we finished for the day, I trekked to the campsite, which again is much further than I realised. Perhaps an hour or so through country lanes and footpaths. The hedgerow was so colourful and there is wild garlic everywhere at the moment.

It’s so lovely to be camping. I set up my tent, made soup and enjoyed some cider that I picked up in Totnes. The campsite has a river and I sat by the edge before the sunset. I love camping and feel very at peace here. I must get out of London and do this more. Perhaps leave London entirely, one day.

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